Technological advances and the right incentives from Government should produce emission-free motor vehicles within the next 30 years, the chief executive of BP Amoco said this week.
Sir John Browne told a meeting of the National Environment Research Council that co-operation between oil companies and car makers to develop cleaner engines and fuels would lead to `an even greater aspiration – the development of vehicles with zero emissions’.
He added: `I think the odds are that such vehicles will be readily available in my lifetime.’
Browne said achieving this goal would probably require radical changes in the fuel mix, including the use of hydrogen. This would initially come from hydrocarbon oxidation but might later be produced from electrolysis or biomediated dissociation of water. `These are all options we’re considering with our partners,’ he said.
Browne warned, however, that development of zero-emission cars and other cleaner technologies – such as solar power and more efficient gas turbine technology – were highly dependent on government providing the right sort of incentives.
He expressed disappointment at Government determination to press ahead with a tax on energy use, which he said offered no such incentives and was unlikely to persuade companies to change their behaviour. `I think this proposal is ineffective and intellectually unjustifiable,’ he said.
Browne added that the tax system should be used to encourage emissions trading to achieve reductions at the lowest possible cost.